Don Martin: On Kenney's Trudeau attack, stupid is as stupid does
Published Thursday, May 17, 2018 5:51PM EDT
Seemingly without provocation this week, the Official Opposition Leader in Alberta decided to blast the prime minister as stupid.
Jason Kenney seems to be very proud of his hyper derision in the Calgary Sun, refusing to recant after belittling Justin Trudeau as "empty" and having "the political depth of a finger bowl" incapable of digesting "a briefing note longer than a cocktail napkin."
Now, it's probably true the secrets of cold fusion are safe inside Trudeau's brain, although he did clearly explain quantum computing at one point, so who knows?
But Kenney's insult digs below the political surface to a deeply personal level and, even in the blood sport of intergovernmental politics, seemed particularly pointless and provocative. Had he said it of a woman politician, he would've been groveling an apology by now.
Besides, consider the context of Kenney's outburst, which was aimed at the Trudeau government's action or inaction to force-feed a pipeline expansion through the Rockies to west coast tankers.
This week the government decided to backstop the Trans Mountain pipeline construction - be it done by the current builder or someone else - against any losses resulting from obstructions by the B.C. government.
Short of doing something flagrantly un-Conservative, like commandeering ownership of the project outright, that was about the best any federal government could do. Stephen Harper would've recoiled at the thought of moving any further into energy sector nationalization.
So now it's a waiting game for the industry to restart or abandon the project.
But Kenney wouldn't wait if he was prime minister. He wants Trudeau to cut off infrastructure funds to British Columbia along with the flow of oil through the existing pipeline.
Let's consider which of these moves would be considered a stupid move by a politician.
Cutting off the oil flow will trigger a gas price spike that will quickly reverse the B.C. mood swing in favor of the pipeline. Besides, who would be hurt most by the tap-turnoff? The very same Kinder Morgan pipeline builder the Alberta government is trying to woo into building the expansion.
And denying British Columbians their share of federal infrastructure would infuriate the west coast and surely cost the Trudeau Liberals party most, if not all, of its 18 seats in the next election. It's not a smart move by any politician to put ten per cent of their seats at risk for any reason.
As that great 1994 philosopher Forrest Gump once observed, "stupid is as stupid does".
Watching a likely future premier like Jason Kenney going ballistic without cause, going personal without provocation and tainting future relations with a prime minister for no provincial gain does seem stupid.
So it probably is.
And that's the Last Word.